Arctic Winter Games

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Winter Ross with two
bronze and a silver
she won for figure
skating.

Team NWT came up seven medals short of its goal of finishing second at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, claiming 116 ulus. However, territorial athletes had more podium performances since 2006, and won five more medals than when the team finished second in 2008 as the host contingent.

"It's always a real dog fight between us and the Yukon," said Bill Othmer, assistant chef de mission with Team NWT. "We're always trying to push to get second overall."

This year Team NWT earned 32 gold ulus, its second-highest gold rush since the 2008 games in Yellowknife when it won 34 golds.

Much of the team's success can be credited to the efforts of NWT biathletes and speedskaters. The two teams combined for 62 medals – 20 gold, 15 silver and 27 bronze.

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After a week of tough competition, Team NWT finished third overall in the medal standings with 115 uluit, behind Team Yukon with 121 and Team Alaska with 190.

There were only two NWT teams in action on the last day of competition, the midget and bantam boys’ hockey teams.

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Nunavut is bringing home one extra piece of hardware from the 2012 Arctic Winter Games, and this one - the Hodgson Trophy for fair play and team spirit - does not require a medal round.

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Nunavut diversified its medal count Friday with two silver and a bronze in speedskating relay, a bronze in team dog mushing, and big bronze ulu wins in girls' volleyball and boys' hockey.

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It took some convincing to get double gold medallist Andrew Bell to try his hand at Arctic sports, but the Kugluktuk man is glad he succumbed to pressure from his friend and trainer Andrew Atatahak.

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With one day to go, the NWT speed skaters are the territory’s winningest team at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games, bringing home a whopping 38 medals including 17 gold, six silver and 14 bronze uluit.

The skaters increased their medal count by eight on Friday, taking wins and bronze medals in the long-distance and relay events.

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Janelle Bruneau of Fort Simpson won the NWT its only medal in snowshoeing and missed a second due to a technical error.

Placing third in the five-kilometre cross country race, Bruneau said she was happy with the result considering this was her first time competing at the Arctic Winter Games.

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With athletes coming to the far northwest of Canada from the Grise Fiord, Canada's northernmost settlement, and from Antigonish, NS, and a coach from Vancouver, Nunavut's badminton team is a tri-coastal effort.

"My teacher asked me if I wanted to go to Iqaluit for a tournament, so I said, yeah, why not," said Grise Fiord's Jayko Akeeagok, who turns 16 on Saturday, who first picked up a racquet ahead of that November tournament. "I won gold, and ended up here."

Diane Marin

Yellowknife's Diane Marin (11)
in action during
the junior girls
bronze medal game
against team Yukon
Friday at the
Canada Games Center

Diane Marin is one versatile athlete.

The Yellowknife athlete from Ecole Sir John Franklin High School has competed in a slew of regional and national games including the 2007 Western Canada Summer Games, 2008 North American Indigenous games, 2009 Canada Summer Games and the 2008 and 2010 Arctic Winter Games. But her achievements are not all for the same sport.

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Nunavut continued to do well in three sports, adding 10 uluit in Arctic sports, Dene games and Inuit wrestling.

Ikey Bolt of Kugluktuk took his second medal, this time gold in one foot high kick with an unmixed height of 8-foot-1-inch, three inches above his personal best. Teammate Brandon Qiyuk also hit the height to earn silver, but did so after four misses.

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